Patrick Poole embellishes upon the drum I have been beating all week, that despite the urgent need for bold leadership CPAC is bereft of vision, integrity, leadership. At what I am hearing is the largest gathering of CPAC attendees ever (my cabbie said 9,000), there was nothing concerning the most critical issues of our day. The people who attended desperately need educating on a vast range of issues that threaten American sovereignty and basic human freedoms. There was nary a mention of the greatest threat to the West - the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference).
Shameful. The only moment that was inspiring and dead on balls was John Bolton's speech.
On the positive side of the ledger, this was a rare opportunity to meet many
top conservative bloggers and put faces with the names. Without an exception,
these are all wonderful, truly dedicated people. If there is hope for
conservatives in the future — an issue in doubt if CPAC really is representative
of the movement — the spirit that animates the conservative blogger community
will be critical to helping emerge from the political wilderness.
That said, however, those of us inhabiting the official bloggers row,
sponsored this year by Pajamas Media, are clearly considered the red-headed
stepchildren by CPAC’s organizers. The best evidence for this was that bloggers
row was situated at the back corner of the exhibit hall (which doubles as the
first floor of the hotel’s parking garage). The organizers could not have
positioned us any farther from the events here at CPAC without setting us up
outside the building. In contrast to political left, where bloggers and new
media have propelled Democrats to stunning victory and are courted by their
politicians at the annual Daily Kos convention, the conservative establishment
still has no idea what to do with new media.
This year’s CPAC was the largest on record. It was encouraging to see the
large herds of students moving throughout the hotel. Unfortunately, the constant
theme those students heard during this year’s CPAC was that the proper role of
the conservative movement is as cheerleader for the GOP.
I must strongly dissent. Ever since George H.W. Bush violated his no new
taxes pledge and announced the appointment of David Souter to the Supreme Court,
the conservative movement has been the victim of nearly two decades of serial
gang rape by the Republican Party and its leadership (George H.W. Bush, Trent
Lott, Bob Dole, John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Denny Hastert, George W. Bush, et
Tying our fortunes to the Republican Party is the worst mistake that
conservatives have made during the past half-century. Our salvation does not
reside with the GOP, but by distancing ourselves from it. Many of this year’s
CPAC speakers are the very architects of our political exile. Rather than coming
to us in sackcloth and ashes for their total failure of leadership, they came
with red meat one-liners intended to distract the crowd.
The fact of the matter is that before the 2006 elections, just a little over
two years ago, Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of
Congress. It isn’t entirely clear that the GOP leadership is even aware that the
situation has changed, let alone that they are personally responsible for
It is interesting that Ronald Reagan’s name was constantly being invoked by
CPAC speakers. I’m old enough to remember the 1976 and 1980 elections, and
Ronald Reagan was the conservative outsider, not a GOP insider. His strength
came from the power of his ideas, which frequently were at odds with the
dominant Gerald R. Ford/Nelson Rockefeller wing of the GOP.
That the conservative movement has slid into complete irrelevancy was
demonstrated by the absence of any ideas — nay, any discussion whatsoever — of
several of the most pressing political issues of our day. As fellow blogger
Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugged observed, there was not a single panel on the
War on Terror, the growing threats to free speech, or the cultural jihad
underway in the West.
What should have been one of the most important events of this year’s CPAC,
the appearance by Dutch parliamentarian and anti-jihad activist Geert Wilders,
was relegated to the opposite side of the hotel, divorced from all of the other
conference proceedings. There were no official announcements that this event
would even be taking place (none that I heard at least), and when trying to
locate the room in which it would be held, not a single CPAC staffer could tell
me where. And this event only happened because David Horowitz, Pamela Geller,
Robert Spencer, and Andy Bostom personally shelled out the money to make it
Now CPAC organizers would no doubt respond that they could not fit Wilders
into the schedule on such short notice. But I have no doubt that if Bristol
Palin had suddenly come available to address CPAC on the virtues of teen
pregnancy, David Keene and the American Conservative Union would no doubt have
moved heaven and earth to make room in the schedule for her. But they could not
accommodate a man who lives under constant death threats by a long list of
Islamic terrorist organizations.
Honestly, I don’t know much about Geert Wilders’ politics. I only met the man
briefly, and I heard his stump speech twice on Friday. But anyone who has a
stack of fatwas calling for his death because of his willingness to speak out
against the global jihad is going to receive my support, regardless of any
politically incorrect view he may or may not hold.
From my limited perspective, all Geert Wilders has done is hold a mirror up
to reflect back the ugly racism and advocacy of violence that are the staple of
the most prominent and authoritative officials in Islam. For that he has earned
nothing but enmity from the avowed enemies of the West. But it wasn’t enough to
earn him a speaking spot on this year’s CPAC schedule.
Meanwhile, GOP operative and Karl Rove confidante Grover Norquist, who is
responsible for opening the doors of political power for convicted
al-Qaeda fundraiser Abdurahman Alamoudi and Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader
Sami Al-Arian, was given the honor of introducing House Minority Leader John
Boehner on Friday morning. The contrast between the cold reception of Wilders
and the warm embrace of Norquist by CPAC could not be any starker.
If this year’s CPAC is an accurate indicator, conservatives have many lonely
years ahead in political exile. Bereft of ideas and locked in an abusive
relationship with a political party that has shown nothing but contempt for
conservatives, CPAC represents what is wrong with the conservative movement. In
terms of representing the way forward for conservatives, CPAC is an epic
But I am of the opinion that the real situation is not quite as dire. There
is a growing discontent among the grassroots as seen in the recent Tea Party events popping
up around the country. And as President Obama, Senate Leader Harry Reid, and
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi impose their massive New Squeal program, that
grassroots discontent might lead to the overthrow of the “official” leadership
of the conservative movement, including CPAC. In my humble opinion, that change
couldn’t come quickly enough.
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